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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: December 2019

16 - The Cold War in Soviet International Legal Discourse

from Part III - The Parochial/Plural Cold War


Borrowing Gerry Simpson’s taxonomy, it was and remains common to think of the Soviet Union as both a ‘great power’ and an ‘outlaw state’. Some historical accounts portray Soviet law as elaborate, specific and complex; but simultaneously, others portray ‘Soviet law’ as a sham. This essay argues that the Soviet approach to Cold War international law hews closer to the former image than the latter. It appears that Soviet faith in international law grew over the course of the Cold War, rather than diminished. This essay is a tentative sketch of the transformation of Soviet faith in law over the course of the Cold War.

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